Traditional Artisanal Mining
The mining operation, in most cases, commences with under capitalised title holders (villagers) that manually prospect and peg their claims. Title deeds to claims are regarded as family assets and represents a large portion of the owner's family net worth and are therefore very important and carries a significant degree of emotional value. The Claim owners are normally directly involved in the mining operations - owner manager approach. This means the owner does not normally leave the mine and is intensely involved in the actual operations to protect family interest. Trading the mined ore or gold becomes either (i) a reactive secondary step, or (ii) a delegated job to a junior member of the family tasked with going to the city to sell the product. Family involvement is key and as a result it is often hard to overcome resistance to either leverage the title deeds or to purchase claims from title holders to raise capital for a small mine.
....Artisanal and small-scale mining is an important source of livelihood to many people who would otherwise live in poverty....
Due to the lack of capital, mechanised mining is not an option and manual mining methods are used to develop the family mine claims. Manual mining normally limits the exploitation of the substratum and immediately accessible vein. In many instances when these veins are exhausted the mine is either abandoned or further excavated through highly unsafe tunnelling attempting to follow the vein, frequently resulting in tragedy and loss of life. This type of Artisanal approach never achieves the true intrinsic value of the claim and is not sustainable. Not only does it have a tendency to reduce the expected life of the mine but it also has a devastating environmental impact.
These mines are mostly targeted by unscrupulous middle men and brokers that purchase unprocessed and or semi processed gold at deep discounted or cannibalistic pricing cash based "mine-gate" prices. As a whole, the local economy is stifled, mine operations never reach an improved efficiency and earning capability remains under pressure simply because little or no commodity value flows back into the community or into the mine.